The six hour drive to Kalaw among the beautiful landscape was comfortable in the air conditioned car. Unfortunately, it involved a brief lunch stop that I later regretted. I made an afternoon walk at the very interesting local market. The faces here are rather different that what we saw so far. Kalaw has a resident population of Shan state ethnic groups (Shan, Pa-O etc) along with Nepali Gurkhas, Indian Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims who were brought to Kalaw by the British to build the railway line. This ethnic diversity, which is evident in the market, makes it the one of the most photogenic markets in Myanmar.


Woman in Kalaw
A woman in the Kalaw market.
My Blue Hat
A lovely baby with his mom in Kalaw.
The Boy in Kalaw
A boy sitting outside his parents shop near the Kalaw market.
Looking Serious
A woman in the Kalaw market looking at my lens.
The Seamstress
A lady and her sewing machine in her shop in the Kalaw market.3
Smiling Merchant
A monk and a merchant ni the Kalaw market.
Counting the Money
A merchant in Kalaw, counting the day's income.
A bench in the Kalaw market.
Dried Fish
A dried fish booth in the Kalaw market.
The kitchen of a house in Kalaw.
A nice guy in Kalaw, signing victory to my lens.


Hello Stranger
A woman and her baby in the Kalaw market.
A woman handpicking lemons in the market in Kalaw.
A local woman shopping in the food market in Kalaw.
A vegetable bench in the Kalaw market.
Grossery Store
A grosssery store in the Kalaw market.
The Balance
A food merchant in his little shop in the Kalaw market.
Water for Sale
The bench of a grossery stroe in the Kalaw market.
A woman in the Kalaw market.
Sleeping Dog
A dog sleeping in the streets of Kalaw.
School TIme
Two young kids returning from school in Kalaw.


By 7pm, I was feeling funny, much like when the flu kicks in, but hungry. We decided to follow Lonely Planet’s recommendation and searched for the Thu Maung restaurant. It was a joint for locals, which is always good, with very basic setup. I tried the chicken curry. It was assorted with about ten different small pots of dips, pickles, vegetables, rice and trimmings. Simply d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s.

By the time we got back to the hotel, I was feeling terribly sick. I woke up at 2am, shivering and had spent the rest of the night sweating, consuming fever medication and visiting the bathroom. It was rather obvious that my lunch included some suspicious vegetables with aggressive bacteria.

The morning program had a six hour trekking around Kalaw and the Palaung villages. I got the stomach flu before while on travel, in Nepal, and did stop me from following my plans. Again I decided to follow the schedule, only this time it was really painful. True, the landscape through luscious fields and dense forest was beautiful, but I was feeling on the verge of collapsing during the entire trek. After four hours, we arrived in Hin Kar Kone, a local Palaung village of 50 people and got some rest in one of the village houses. We were served food and tea, but I passed. There was nothing that I could digest at this point. I decided to leave the party and return to the hotel on the back of a motorbike, a long one hour bumpy ride that felt like a century. I went straight to bed and only woke up to have a tasty in-room dinner with sweet-corn soup and grilled chicken, before going back to sleep for the rest of the night.


The fields outside Kalaw on the way to the Padaung villages.
Lake in Kalaw
The artificial lake close to Kalaw, on the way to the Padaung villages.
Trekking in the forest on the way to the Padaung villages.
A boy in the house we ate in the Palaung village near Kalaw.
Palaung People
A hospital woman and a kid from a neighboring house, in a Palaung village near Kalaw.
Palaung Woman
A Palaung lady is reading next to the window in her house.
Palaung House
The interior of house in a Palaung village close to Kalaw.
Red on Purple
A monk in the outskirts of Kalaw.


The next morning we followed the road from Kalaw to Pinaya Paya, one of the most interesting parts of the journey. It was not so much the landscape, which was very beautiful by the way, but rather the feeling of being in the backyard of Myanmar. After about one hour, we stopped by a small wooden hut at the side of the road to taste the local “delicacy”, fried beans and flour. We got the chance to interact with the lovely family and the people that worked in the nearby construction works.


Two girls in their parent's little bamboo shop on the side of the road from Kalaw to Pindaya.
Three Girls
Three palyful little girls on the roaf to Pindaya.
A man cooking bean snacks on the road to Pindaya.
Ox Carriage
An ox carriage on the road to Pindaya.
Mother and Baby
Mother carrying her baby close to Pindaya.
Two siblings near Pindaya.
Ox Carriage
An ox carriage close to Pindaya.
Hard Working Woman
A woman working in road construction along the Kalaw Pindaya road.
Work Can Be Fun
A woman working in road construction along the Kalaw Pindaya road.


The Pinaya Paya is a cave, formed one million years ago that houses some eleven thousand Buddha images of all sizes and materials! It is really packed in there. The visitor has to walk among narrow passages with innumerable buddha statues occupying the walls, the floor, the ceiling and everything in between.


The aesthetically challenging entrance of the Pindaya cave.
The Big Ox
A big bull in an animal market on the way to Inle lake.
Eleven Thousand Buddhas
The Pindaya cave contains around eleven thousand Buddha images of various age and material.
Buddha Images in Pindaya
Buddha images in different sitting positions in the Pindaya cave.
The interior of the Pindaya cave with the many thousand Buddha images.
Holy Stairway
The path to the entrace of the Pindaya cave.

After a short stop at a local animal bazaar, we continued by car to Nyaungshwe, the entry point to Inle Lake.

Next: Inle Lake.